Monday, April 18, 2005


Barney Greengrass

Los Angeles is the perfect lunch city. The weather is ideal and there is a HUGE contingency of people who are free during the day. (Read: Actors, writers, yoga instructors, chefs…) Why, I think finding friends to fill your days with is almost easier than getting a group to commit to dinner! What can I say, I am a fan. Thinking about going, planning where to go, driving there, valeting, ordering, chatting, sitting in the warm sunshine, eating, laughing and over tipping are what make lunch the best thing going. Sure, sure, I could be out doing more important things, but it's just so durned PLEASANT to while the afternoon away.

My lunch haunts are many, but one or two times a month I hear the siren call of Barney Greengrass. Pricer than some places for sure, but absolutely worth every shiny penny for the patio dining alone.

Now, I know you may have heard of the original Barney Greengrass The Sturgeon King, in NYC. I believe I even saw an episode of A Cooks Tour where Anthony Bourdain went and gorged himself on their smoked fish as a “Hometown Favorite” spot. The west coast version has a different menu, (the fish is all the same, but there seem to be more salad choices and they offer a tofu dish) and overall the two places are light years apart. I can actually imagine a “true New Yorker” shuddering in their boots at the idea a fey girl like me crosses the threshold of their sacred institution. To them I say…eh, whatever. For one thing, our Barneys – while still a Jewish Deli at heart - is on top of the store Barneys, and has a terrific view of Beverly Hills. It is also a hot bed of Hollywood industry deal making and star spots. But what truly makes it one of my favorite places is that they have really great meal that you can eat outdoors before going shopping for a new pair of Louboutins (also pictured below.) all in one stop. It’s really perfection in a lunch spot.

Now, in the great tradition of ladies who lunch. I only ever order a salad, and I recommend you do the same. Sorry if that seems boring to you, but its what works. Fresh, crispy, light, a salad is always just what I crave. Which salad varies, but normally I have the Mediterranean (pictured below): Chopped romaine, red onion, feta, and Greek olives with a citrus herb vinaigrette on a bed of hummus. Hold the onions, add baby artichoke hearts. ($14) They serve breadsticks and an interesting flatbread cracker at every table, which is the perfect foil for the house made hummus. The glamazon known as Astrid who (we suspect travels with her own makeup artist) is my regular dining companion/partner in crime typically indulges in the Classic Caesar Salad, ($15.50) or the absolutely surreally delicious Sturgeon and Nova Scotia Salmon sandwich on a bagel (17.50) that was flown in from NY and really is the best around. If you are serious about your smoked or cured fish this is the place to go. Everything is superior. They are the experts after all. They also sell caviar…

So next time you are in LA and wanting for something relaxing, delicious and leisurely to do, give me a jingle and I’ll meet you at Barneys.

Barneys: 9570 Wilshire Blvd., 5th fl.(Camden Dr.) Beverly Hills, California 90212

Ambiance – Relaxed
Food – Top notch breakfast and lunch
Service – Couldn’t ask for more
Parking – Valet $3 with validation (There is self park too, I’m just not sure where)

Will I return? - Yessir!


My older sister, who grew up in NYC, swears that they posh and fabulous Barneys New York that we know and love was once a Lower East side deep discount suit store that offered same day tailoring.

What did the waiter ask the group of dining Jewish mothers?"Is ANYTHING all right?"

There are 77 certified Kosher restaurants in the Greater Los Angeles area.

If the salad's good you can pretty much bet the rest of the food is good. Besides a salad IS the best way to go. My favorite lately is the Italian Chopped Caesar at our local favorite, Kianti's.
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